Six of the UK’s leading cycling and walking organisations have criticised the government’s ‘Plan for Drivers’, which announced at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday, saying it denies people their choice, health and freedom, reports Air Quality News.
The following is a joint statement released by the CEOs of Bikeability Trust, British Cycling, Cycling UK, Living Streets, Ramblers and Sustrans.
“When the government should be giving people more opportunities to live their lives responsibly, it’s robbing them of options.
“When Ministers could be promoting public transport, cycling and walking as cheap sustainable options in a cost of living and climate crisis, they’re entrenching congestion and reliance on driving for short, local journeys.
“When the government could respect people’s freedom to choose how they travel, it’s removing the alternatives. This is a plan that looks no further than one way of travelling and will make the roads worse for those occasions when people do need to drive.
“Having a reliable bus route to work, the freedom to cycle to the park, or to be able to let your children walk to school safely while breathing clean air should not be beyond us.
“This plan restricts people’s travel choices, setting the country on cruise control towards missed net zero targets and a worsening health and inactivity crisis, while denying our children of their independence and freedom to move around their local area safely.”
- Emily Cherry, Chief Executive, Bikeability Trust
- Jon Dutton, CEO, British Cycling
- Sarah Mitchell, Chief Executive, Cycling UK
- Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets
- Ross Maloney, Chief Executive, Ramblers
- Xavier Brice, Chief Executive, Sustrans
At the same time the Active Travel Commissioners representing the mayors of the West Midlands, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Liverpool have written to the Prime Minister, also expressing their concern at yesterday’s announcement.
The content of the letter was summarised by Adam Tranter, the West Midlands Cycling & Walking Commissioner, on X/Twitter:
“Every extra person enabled to walk, cycle or take public transport for their journeys frees up limited road space for those who *really* need to drive.
“In towns and cities, we cannot knock down buildings or cut down trees to make more space for growing car ownership.
“Put simply, we need to be more efficient with the roads we already have.
“The Prime Minister is right when he says that many people rely on their cars but this shouldn’t be confused with their aspirations. People want freedom of choice when it comes to transport.
“We feel caution should be exercised around vilifying 20mph areas. Whilst the Gov’t have said they are supportive of 20mph outside schools, we should remember that children deserve to be safe at the start, during and end of their journey – not just outside the school gates.
“The Plan For Drivers document features plans to tackle inconsiderate driving but does not take the opportunity to update on the Government consultation to ban pavement parking – this is a missed opportunity. It will protect vulnerable road users but help drivers be safe too.
“It is important for the @transportgovuk to clarify what “local consent” means in relation to infrastructure like Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and cycle lanes.
“It should be noted that active travel schemes are typically popular when polled and delivered by elected politicians.
“We stand ready to help deliver local transport networks that provide people with genuine choices about how they travel. This will make life easier for those who drive – and create nice places where people want to live, work and visit.”